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Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps is a BBC sitcom created and written by Susan Nickson. It is set in the town of Runcorn in Cheshire, England, and revolves around the lives of five twenty-somethings. The show was first broadcast in 2001 on BBC Two. The title was inspired by the 1980 hit single "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please" by Splodgenessabounds.[1]

In April 2010, it was announced that the show was to return, albeit 'refreshed' by the BBC, which could mean cast changes, and the loss of the creator of the show, Susan Nickson, who is reportedly moving on to work in America.[2]

The ninth series started on BBC3 on 26 April 2011[3] with only 6 episodes airing making it the shortest series since 2002. In an interview on the 22 March episode of Loose Women, Will Mellor confirmed that the 9th series had finished filming the previous week and that he doesn't know what's happening with the show after this series, but promised an explosive ending.

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The original Executive Producer of the show, Geoffrey Perkins, saw writer Susan Nickson's work on Channel 4's Lloyd's Bank Film Challenge, entitled "Life's A Bitch", which starred Sean Hughes and Kathy Burke. Aged just fourteen, Nickson was asked by Perkins (who was also Head of Comedy at the time) to come and work with the BBC after a few years; consequently, Nickson created Two Pints when she was just eighteen.

The BBC tried to persuade the producers of the Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks to get Will Mellor and Natalie Casey to work with them, when they appeared in the show. Ralf Little and Sheridan Smith were cast soon after completing work on another BBC sitcom The Royle Family, in which Little had also performed with Smith. Although initially reluctant, he agreed to audition when he realised that Two Pints would be very different from The Royle Family. Kathryn Drysdale was brought in after producers saw her perform at drama school.

The show's unbroadcast pilot starred Little and Mellor, though the characters of Janet, Louise and Donna were portrayed by other actresses, including Lucy Punch as Louise. Smith, Casey and Drysdale were then cast to be in the first series, and have been acting in the show ever since. Little and Smith, and Mellor and Casey respectively play couples Jonny and Janet, and Gaz and Donna. Mellor and Casey also played couples on-screen in the past when they portrayed a couple in Hollyoaks. Smith stated how lucky she was to work with Little after starring together before, as playing such a close couple would have been awkward for them both. Mellor stated in a past interview how he sees Casey as a younger sister to him, and mentions that he feels awkward during kissing scenes because of this. Smith also classes Casey as the "mummy" in the show, due to her knowledge and problem solving skills. Typically, episodes end with a particularly dramatic scene, such as Jonny breaking the news to Janet about her parents turning down his request for her hand in marriage.

BBC Two broadcast the first series, BBC Choice screened series two but was re branded as BBC Three shortly before it screened series three, and has shown the first run of each new series ever since. BBC Two also repeated the show, though only once, previously shown every Thursday. Series four ended with Jonny being shot by armed police, and viewers were asked to vote, by text or phone, on Jonny's fate. Series five began with a funeral, which was revealed to be that of Donna's mother, Flo. Some series are accompanied by a special programme exposing errors that occurred during the filming. The show, titled Two Pints of Lager Outtakes, features interviews with cast and crew, each explaining the difficulties of getting various scenes to be performed as expected.

The outcome of the final episode of series eight was be decided by the public, who in episode seven were asked to vote whether Gaz should be with Donna or Janet. Following this the final episode of the current series was aired on 10 May 2009 showing the audience's views and opinions of the show and who Gaz should be with;[4] the audience chose Donna, with 76.9% of the vote. The final episode concluded with Donna at Gaz's bedside.

Although Two Pints is largely comedy, it sometimes, especially at the end of a series, becomes more dramatic and serious. Such storylines have included Janet and Jonny's split, Jonny's shooting and Janet's imminent departure as a cruise singer.

Will Mellor has described the show as being "driven by sex and alcohol" and the show is known for its adult, sometimes scatological humour, mostly involving references to sex and private bodily functions. Vulgar language is also used, except that the word 'fuck' is uttered only in the last episode of each series.[5]

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